Little Odessa to Hold US’s First Pride March in Russian

Members of the Russian-Speaking American LGBT Association (RUSA LGBT) during last June’s Pride March in Manhattan, including co-president Lyosha Gorshkov on the left. (Photo courtesy of Lyosha Gorshkov via Gay City News)

The first-ever Russian-speaking pride march in the U.S. will take place in Little Odessa in Brooklyn on May 20, reports Julianne Cuba for Gay City News. Known as Brighton Beach Pride, the march serves to change community perceptions of LGBTQ individuals. The co-president of march organizer RUSA LGBT, a network of Russian-speaking members of the LGBTQ community, spoke with Gay City News.

“Some people, who live in Brighton Beach, have not adopted all American values, including tolerance toward the LGBTIQ community,” said Lyosha Gorshkov, who identifies as queer and emigrated from Russia to Midwood in 2014. “Our members who settle down there experience a lot of issues with homophobia and transphobia — LGBTIQ people experience slurs and discrimination. That’s why we have to stand up for ourselves and raise our voice.”

This “residual prejudice feels especially unjust,” Gorshkov pointed out, given that many Brighton Beach residents are Russian Jews who came to the U.S. to escape persecution.

“Many people, who came here in 1970s and ’80s, were predominantly Jewish people, who fled from the Soviet Union escaping from persecution,” he said. “But some of them exhibit intolerance to gay people, black people, Muslim people, and others. With our march we try to break through the wall of intolerance towards LGBTIQ people.”

He goes on to comment about the crackdown on gay men in Chechnya and on how the discrimination faced by the LGBTQ community in Brighton Beach is not limited to the older generation. Read the full story on Brighton Beach Pride at Gay City News.

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